JAPANESE car maker Nissan has hit the go button on the Kicks baby SUV concept vehicle, sending it into full production with an initial target market of Latin America, ahead of a global model roll out.
That roll out is expected to include Australia, with the final production model inspired by the concept the company presented at the 2014 Sao Paulo Motor Show.
“Nissan invented the first crossover in 2003, with the Murano,” Nissan CEO and president Carlos Ghosn said. “Since then, we’ve established our global crossover leadership with vehicles like JUKE, Qashqai and X-TRAIL – which have been great successes. The Kicks will bring Nissan’s unique Crossover expertise to more regions.”
Led by Nissan’s Global Design Center in Japan, the Kicks Concept was conceived through a collaboration between Nissan Design America (NDA) in San Diego and Nissan Design America – Rio (NDA-R), the company’s local satellite design studio. The teams currently are engaged in the design and development of the production model.
Following an investment of $192 million, the Nissan Kicks will be produced at Nissan’s Resende Industrial Complex in Rio de Janeiro State. The facility was inaugurated in 2014 and currently produces compact vehicles March (sold in Australia as the Micra) and Versa (sold in Australia as the Tiida).
Wit the opportunity to use the Kicks to take on direct competitors like the Mazda CX-3, Nissan continues to study the business case for launching Kicks in other regions (including Australia), underlining the brand’s commitment to global Crossover leadership.